On publication day of my very first proper job I had one priority: to pop to the local newsagent and buy a copy of the magazine I’d spent the past month slaving over.
Sure, I’d already seen the magazine when it was delivered to the office, and my name had been in print in countless student publications previously, but that’s not what this little pilgrimage was about. This trip was about seeing my work through to the final possible moment, and as the chances of me hanging around long enough to see a member of the public buy ‘my’ rather specialist publication were slim I decided to have that satisfaction myself.
The memory of buying the magazine – followed by immediately opening it and showing the bewildered shopkeeper my work – is still with me today. It became a tradition when I moved to newspapers, rushing to the shops to pick up the very first copy I’d been involved with, and even after years in the media I’d still gain a certain level of joy when I’d randomly seek out one of ‘my’ papers in the big wide world.
So when I changed careers and joined the world of PR it was this buzz of excitement that I feared I would miss.
Then I sent out my first press release.
It wasn’t a major story to change the world, but – like a lot of the items featured in that first magazine – it was an event that meant something to the people involved and deserved recognition, meaning it went to only a select number of relevant publications.
And, importantly for me, I’d worked with it from the moment the client had got in touch to say ‘do you think this might be worth telling people about?’ So I’d been provided the information, drafted the press release and – with a little guidance – chosen where to send it.
Which is where I’d thought my involvement would end. Until I happened to see a copy of the paper I’d sent it to and my interest was piqued. Would any mention of the achievement appear? I had to take a look.
Where previously I’d picked up one of ‘my’ papers and excitedly looked over every page considering what I was proud of or unhappy with, now I hungrily searched headlines and pictures, hoping for a reference to the story I’d sent out. Then I found it, about 15 pages in but given prominence as the lead on the page.
Sure, it was nothing like my original offering – it had been re-written and added to as would be expected of any good journalist, but there was the news I’d provided, being shared with the ‘world’.
Words cannot express the pride I felt at that moment. Because while I’d thought the item was of interest and had done my best to ensure the journalists agreed, there was still no guarantee my offering would get the coverage it deserved, as breaking news, a particularly eventful week or any number of circumstances can relegate even the most hard-hitting of stories to the overlooked pile. And so, seeing my first press release picked up as a prominent news article gave me a wonderful feeling of excitement both for myself and, more importantly, for the recognition of the client.
The trouble is, now I’ve been doing the job a while I get to send out a lot more press releases and article tips – the excitement of opening each paper to hunt for coverage hasn’t waned, but the space in my cellar is rapidly running out.
posted in: media relations,